Guest blog by Jayme Wium from SME Loans
Students readying themselves for the job market at the University of York are undoubtedly in a prime position to enter the fin-tech industry. If finance and technology are your current study focus, the innovative emerging industry of fin-tech awaits you – and wow, does it have a plethora of career opportunities for you! As someone working in the digital marketing department of a fin-tech company, I can tell you that the industry is not just a busy one – it’s exciting too.
Of course, like any emerging industry, fin-tech has a highly competitive employment environment. That means that you cannot expect to just walk into a job – unless you really are the very best in your chosen field. Fin-tech is developing at a rapid rate because it is changing the way people manage their finances and this requires constant change and advancement. While it is constantly changing, it looks as if the job market it brings with it is set to grow and expand exponentially. This means that opportunities abound, but a lot of people are grappling for those opportunities now – so, you have your work cut out for you.
Why you should apply to work in fin-tech
There is a lot that you can do in the fin-tech industry and the sheer variety and flexibility are reasons enough to seek out a life-long career in the field. Applying for a job is a necessity, but what makes the fin-tech industry the right choice for you and not another industry? There are several reasons why you should apply for a job in fin-tech. For starters, there is a shortage of skilled fin-tech professionals in the UK.
When you consider that the UK generates more than £ 6 billion in fin-tech capital annually, it seems as if the industry is a lucrative one to get involved in. In fact, it absolutely is a lucrative industry to get into. In a few years, it is expected that the industry will double in size and that is quite impressive when you consider that the UK fin-tech industry employs over 76 000 citizens currently. The industry is always changing and advancing, and because of this, there is exceptional room for growth. Where you start off now is certainly not where you will end up in the future. And that is a great thing, by the way!
If you are all set to put your hard work and recently (or soon-to-be) acquired qualifications to work, I would like to share a few tips with you on how I got into a rewarding fin-tech position with SME Loans myself.
Scour the market for relevant positions and familiarise yourself with what is expected in each role
A fin-tech or related degree can open a lot of doors for you within the finance technology market. You could work as an app developer, blockchain developer, financial analyst, product manager, sales representative, cyber security analyst, data specialist, compliance expert, or even a business development manager to name a few options. Before you can apply for a position and ace a fin-tech interview, you need to find out everything there is to know about each of these positions within the fin-tech industry.
You can brush up on your knowledge by browsing through several recruitment agency websites. You could also do regular Google searches for relevant positions. It is important to do this regularly because the fin-tech industry is always changing. Constant change in an industry generally means that new posts are always being created. It is a good idea to keep on top of what is new in the industry – you never know when a post that is just perfect for you is going to crop up.
Brush up on your fin-tech skills to position yourself ahead of your competitors
In the fin-tech industry, it is certainly a case of “what you know”. Recruiters are looking for new entrants into the fin-tech industry who have something to offer and know what they are doing. This means that you need the skills and you need to show that you are keeping these skills current. Some skills that most fin-tech recruitment specialists are looking for are:
- Operating knowledge of Murex software, which is used for FX options trading.
- Java programming qualifications and experience.
- C# programming, which is ideal for calculating Risk Weighted Asset ratios – an essential task in the fin-tech field.
- Financial analysing experience.
Make sure that your CV details all the experience and skills that you have to date. Just remember that if you have gained experience but do not have the certificate or qualification to show for it, you still need to mention it on your CV. For instance, if you develop an app yourself, it is worth mentioning as it shows initiative and can provide a showcase of the type of work you can do, on your own. The fin-tech industry is always looking for people who are consistently expanding on their skill set.
Know your stuff, so that you can join the conversation and have something of value to say
Have you ever had a conversation with someone about something important to you and they just do not understand what you are talking about? That can be quite frustrating, right? It’s much the same for an interviewer. They expect you to know what you are talking about before you start up a conversation (the interview) with them. Before you arrive at a fin-tech interview, you are going to need to brush up on your industry knowledge. If you arrive and don’t know what they are talking about or seem unfamiliar with the basics, you aren’t going to appear too interested in the field.
Spend some time searching the internet for industry news. Do your research on the hiring company and see what sort of fin-tech they currently use, develop, or support. It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the big players in the UK fin-tech field. You should know that some of the top fin-tech players with offices in the UK include the likes of TransferWise, Revolut, and Monzo – these are all popular internationally too! To improve on your chances, it would be a good idea to learn some fin-tech industry jargon, so that you can talk on the same level and have a better understanding of topics that may come up.
Be prepared to start at the bottom of the fin-tech food chain
No one likes to be the new kid on the block, but unfortunately, that is where you are going to have to start when first entering the fin-tech market. Something to remember is that nothing is permanent when it comes to careers. Your entry level post will not be entry-level forever and once you have your foot in the door, you will have the opportunity to grow and expand at a steady pace.
As the fin-tech industry is constantly changing, it is expected that dynamic and highly skilled individuals are needed at the ‘top’. While that might not be you on day one, there is nothing to say that it will not be you soon. Be prepared to start at the bottom. The truth is that how quickly you prove yourself and establish yourself as an expert in the industry, is up to you.
Make education and learning a number one priority
You are already studying which means you are taking the right steps towards following a career in fin-tech. If you have just completed your course, there is no reason to simply stop studying. Keep studying and make sure that you mention this when you apply for fin-tech jobs. Recruiters are looking for people who have enquiring minds and are keen to learn new skills. You do not have to rack up a hefty study bill. You can study free courses online, do readings, or even buy textbooks and study on your own accord.
When applying to work in the fin-tech industry it is important to take each application and interview seriously. Once you are in the industry, you will have a long and lucrative future ahead of you!